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Evening Gentlemen (or do I presume too much?!). Been a while since I have posted.
My Ex up in Penn (I am in MD), removed my two eldest children (S13, D11) from public schools, without my consent or notification. We've been CP and NCP status for just over ten years, and have been strained the last couple years, and I have not had as much contact with my kids (unanswered emails, calls, etc).
Called her to ask about the kids and some bills to find out that she took them out in Sept 2011 (and failed to tell me). She is a "certified teacher", but has not had a full-time job in 13 years, only "subs" now and then. Her 80-something year old dad, where they have lived for the last ten years, is a retired teacher and they are "teaching" the kids at home now.
She said my 13-year old son has, get this, "School Phobia" (put that in an email) and "Social Anxiety", none of which I noticed on our 1500 mile trip we took a couple years ago. She also took out my daughter because she was "miserable" too.
Talked to superintendent (this is a very rural area of Penn), who basically said she thinks this is all a ruse because my son wasn't going to school, and truancy was going to be a liability for his mom (he basically missed the first two weeks of school, refusing to go). Also said she thinks he was tired, because he stayed up all night playing video games, etc. She agreed that the school "dropped the ball" on failing to notify me (they have our joint-legal paperwork on file). I'm too savvy to believe the school or admin will be waiving the flag for me, but frankly, the superintendent sounded like she believed the Ex was completely failing the kids, and all the school could do was watch (it's legal to homeschool and they could wind up in a jam to dispute it with her when she filed for it).
I've been trying (out of court) for years to get increased custody, even full custody, as things have gotten worse for my kids...talking to an attorney this week. Just crazy. She is experimenting with my kids. Of course, this means if I file something, she will go after more CS (I pay a bit below now), claiming she still cannot work, due to her homeschooling, etc.
Crazy crazy. Any immediate ideas other than talking to an attorney and getting all the medical files, etc? Ex sent me, at my request, the "school plan", etc. I was also wondering, given that my son is a Dec. baby...so when is emancipation? At 18, or 18+ passing every exam? Guess what, the school admin told me it could go to 21 ! ! ! Yay ! Another scam.
I mine it means the parent having decision making authority would be able to make the decision to home school and the other parent wouldn't be able to attack the decision but would have to make the case about failure to actually teach.
I would send her an R3 letter at the very least asking her to weekly send you a packet of paper containing copies of their homework and testing that she is getting done. If she is not following a state approved educational plan then you will have more to use in court later.
Thanks gents. Talking to an attorney this Thur, will find out more. The language in our MSA (from Year 2000) is so general that I am almost certain she can do it, if even frowned upon. However, as one of you noted, I can and should keep up with how she is doing it. The school admin is concerned also (apparently seeing through this, as an attempt to avoid a truancy charge).
We shall see. Will learn more and post an update. Thanks always.
Does your state have standard tests the kids take each year? If you can't reverse the homeschooling thing now, you may have to wait until the kids take the test. I don't think home schooled kids are exempt. If they score poorly then you may have some needed leverage.
I know most states have guidelines on homeschooling. Like the parent has to submit lesson plans, etc. Some states are more lax than others tho. It may be beneficial to check into the states homeschooling law.
Whatever your plan is, you need to ramp up the infrequent contact with the children. You won't have a good claim about their not thriving with her if they haven't been seeing you. If you have specific time in the decree, exercise it. If it's vague, exercise what the state guidelines would likely be & record her refusal to cooperate. Whatever you do, don't fall out of their lives or go into court without having had significant & frequent contact.
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Surprise surprise, there are no ramifications for her actions (despite our "joint-legal" custody, which as most of you know, means about nothing).
The attorney, to her credit, laid it all out: I can pay another 10-15k to order evaluations, revamp < parenting time > and address what appears to be increased alienation (which became proportionate to my scrutiny of several of EX's actions the last five years). In other words, litigate again, out of state (across state borders). But the bottom line is, in PA, she can pretty much do whatever she wants, sounds like. The only danger she ever ran, was a 3rd party taking interest--meaning, the truancy office, sending out a cop to find my son when he wasn't in school.
So, naturally, she did what all good custodial moms do, she moved the goal posts and now is homeschooling. No more worries. Since the state doesn't force her to work to support our children, as they would men, she can do whatever she wants.
Maybe 12 years as an NCP is enough. Ok...ready for the bashing. LOL. It always comes. I honestly can say, I don't see how many of you do it. Non stop fight, financial destitution and they NEVER have to fight, or spend tons of money, or do much of anything. So completely rigged in their favor.
Sorry, was depressing to hear yet again, how "Sir, there just is really little you can do, we can try XYZ, blah blah blah". EVERY SINGLE angle you could try to work to improve your child's life, they (the Family Law Culture) has "covered" to protect the CP.